YouTube Crushes The Networks in Debate Coverage

Sunday night's debate attracted 63 million TV viewers. That was down 20% from the first debate. Football games and other factors including those simply fed up with the barroom brawling may have contributed to the drop in viewership.  But there was another viewing destination which was up 40% over the first debate - YouTube.  

Debate content garnered 124 million views on YouTube.  Facebook Live in partnership with ABC News had 7.4 million views. Twitter's livestream added another 3.2 million.  

What happened here?  Many chose to watch bite-sized segments rather than the entire event. YouTube's livestream averaged 25 minutes. Now in fairness, the 124 million includes viewers from around the world, so it is not an apples-to-apples comparison but it the digital age, it is a monster reminder that change happens.  

And of course there was plenty of debate related content from both parties and beyond. Millions have watched Trump and Clinton singing "I've Had The Time of My Life."

And there was Trump's pre-debate stunt streamed via Facebook Live.  

Facebook reported 20 million people liking and sharing debate content.  Twitter had 30 million tweets sent during the 90 minute event.

CBS led the TV networks with 16.5 million.  CNN topped cable channels with 11.2 million

Today, TV ratings tell only part of the story.  

Who won the debate? Digital media crushed it.    


Steven Goldstein is CEO of Amplifi Media, LLC, an advisor in strategy and content development for corporations and podcasters. Steve can be reached directly at (203) 221-1400 or

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